Posted by misterparkour on
November 3, 2009
What follows is the video transcript of a fantastic interview with David Belle called “The World is a Playground.” At the time when we published the interview about 5 months ago we called the video, “…one of the best interviews ever conducted with David…” With the video transcribed and the text posted below you can now read and study the words of the founder himself. If you would like to view the video please click here.
David Belle : The World is a playground
Hello, I’m David Belle, actor, choreographer and also behind the Parkour movement.
Parkour is a real training method to face obstacles. It’s to be strong to be useful. The goal really is to train thinking “what can I do with it”?
In real Parkour, there’s no flip. The goal is to keep it simple, efficient and to train movements in which you trust.
When you’re learning parkour, everything in front of you is training. When you start, during the first two or three years, you never stop. Day and night. Every time you see something you’ll get interested in climbing it, because you know that’s when you’re building your training. Then, with time, when you’re pretty much done everything there was to do, you calm down and see what’s left. At that point, it’s really “the feeling”, it happens that I don’t train at all for three weeks or one month, two months and then for one week I’ll train day and night.
Movements are simple. Cat pass, arm jump, precison jumps, saut de fond [jumping off high stuff], I’d say if you really wanted to know all the different techniques. But Parkour is a mix of them all. You should train sauts de fonds to train your thighs. Precision jumps to help focus and be able to land on a small rail. Focusing is really important. Then, running to build stamina. Parkour is a mix of them all.
Doing Parkour is pretty much forgetting those paths socity traced for us and making our own. Even though people say “Don’t go there, you’ll get hurt”, we’re adults, we know what’s dangerous. Take a little kid, tell him not to do something, he’ll do it. But put him in front of a big gap: he’s not stupid, he won’t jump.
When I’m on top of a building, it’s just like is I was on top of a mountain. I don’t look at the mountain, I look at the sky and I’m comfortable with that height. I could be on a roof or on a big rock: it’s the same for me. It’s a quest for height, for freedom, to take paths no one else takes, were nobody else has been: that quest is what makes Parkour interesting.
The wrong way of doing Parkour is to impress, it’s not a sport where you jump off things and show people you get hurt and you don’t care. No. The goal is to end up in good health, to respect your body, respect others, and not to move with a group showing yourself just because it’s new the crazy thing around.
My brother is a fireman, my father was a fireman too and my grandfather was a fireman for 32 years. So, it’s in our family. It’s a bit for them too. My father went to Vietnam, then went with the firemen and thought me this art. I made it into something more definite: Parkour. The goal is to become more and more confident with their body and for that, Parkour is only a complement.
My advice to young traceurs would be: it’s normal that when you’re 15-16 you want to be someone. But when you’re training Parkour with passion, if you’re good, people will notice you. Don’t go around saying: Hey look at this new move I just got. No. We used to say: if it’s good, we’ll tell you. Do it for yourself first. If people like it or not, who cares? As long as you feel good doing it. Now if with that spirit people notice you then good for you. But you should do it for yourself.
Posted by misterparkour on
October 23, 2009
Grappling with gravity
Revolution Parkour turns urban architecture into playground and offers enthusiasts an extreme challenge
You’ve probably seen parkour, but didn’t know what to call it.
The French sport jams breathtaking athleticism into the urban environment; its practitioners sprinting, jumping and weaving in and around the things we normally take for granted. That railing on the stairs may look like a good place for your hand, but in parkour, it’s also a good place for a foot-launching jump.
The parkour-thinking mind sees urban architecture as, literally, a playground.
Adam Dunlap is a 23-year-old, life-long Beaverton resident who runs Revolution Parkour and teaches a twice-weekly class in the discipline. He wants the public to know that the sport is not just insane stunts like those seen at the beginning of the James Bond film “Casino Royale” — it’s a serious training method.
“I think a lot of people see parkour incorrectly,” Dunlap says. “They haven’t made the connection that this is something people do.”
Dunlap admits that what first interested him in parkour were the incredible YouTube videos of elite practitioners like parkour-founder David Belle. But, as he focused his craft, his insight into the sport changed.
“The ideas of movement and how to move quickly are built into us,” Dunlap says. “You take from parkour what you want.”
Craziest thing you’ve ever seen
Parkour can best be described as an outgrowth of a particular French philosophy, which is built on the fluid movement of the physical body through urban spaces. It’s about encountering obstacles and overcoming them using both your wits and your physical prowess. If you look up videos online, it will also seem like the craziest thing you’ve ever seen.
Right after graduating from Oregon State University, Dunlap got a temporary job at Nike, but quickly grew restless. The office environment wasn’t for him. He decided to take his long-brewing interest in parkour and turn it into a business.
Revolution Parkour was intended first as a parkour-instruction program, then as a TV and film consulting firm. For the last year and a half, Dunlap has been teaching twice-weekly classes at ADAPT Training, and seen a steady increase in participation. Tuesday night, 25 students, from pre-teens to people in their 20s, attended the class to get a dose of Dunlap’s expert instruction.
And while the consulting side of the business has been slow going, with only a few projects here and there, Dunlap says that a potential deal with a new major-network television show is in the works.
To develop his training program, Dunlap took the effusive parkour technique videos that were available online and broke them down into step-by-step methodology. He stresses that while these techniques are tried and true, there isn’t necessarily one single way to do parkour. It’s always about doing what comes natural.
‘No parkour on the furniture’
Besides technique training, the class also gives its students extensive physical conditioning, focusing on lean-muscle, body-weight exercises rather than free weights.
“A lot of people just want to find a unique way to workout,” Dunlap says. “As far as I’m concerned, parkour is the best there is.”
Students at the class seem to agree. Brandon Latocki, a 21-year-old Beaverton resident who’s been going to the class since it started, seems to echo the obsession of a lot of dedicated parkour enthusiasts.
“I’ve been looking for my entire life for something to do,” he says, “and this is it.”
Another student, Rick King, 25, says he first saw parkour when he saw the videogame Mirror’s Edge, about a dystopian future where revolutionaries use parkour-like methods to combat an all-knowing, all-seeing government.
“I didn’t know it was an actual thing,” King says. “I showed up (to class) one day and have been hooked ever since.”
Gerald Wright, of Tigard, was watching his 12-year-old son take part in the class on Tuesday night. He says that he’s been impressed by the rigorous and professional nature of the class since his son started it a few weeks ago.
“How can you say no to a kid who wants to do something different?” Wright says. “We do have one rule though: no parkour on the furniture.”
An adrenaline rush
Dunlap says that most students interested in parkour are exactly who you’d expect: young men looking for an adrenaline rush. He’s quick to point out, however, that as parkour grows in recognition — and there’s every indication that it will — the people who participate will likely diversify. Just like how other extreme sports became mainstream in the ’90s, Dunlap expects parkour to do the same.
Dunlap says the local parkour community is small but passionate, and often gets together to take advantage of downtown Portland’s diverse architecture. He says that, unfortunately, the suburbs like Beaverton don’t offer the same obstacle-rich environment as urban areas.
In the end, Dunlap stresses the simple joys of the sport he loves and the independence of its movement. He also stresses that watching the elite athletes shouldn’t scare people off. Most people will never leap from such great heights.
“Just because you train,” he says, “doesn’t mean you can jump off a building.”
For more information, visit www.revolutionparkour.com.
Posted by misterparkour on
September 17, 2009
Following is the video transcript of the video I Jump From Rooftop to Rooftop which exclusively featured and was exclusively orated by David Belle:
Parkour is a method of training which allows us to overcome obstacles, both in the urban and natural environments.
It’s a weapon in disguise. We train… and when one day we encounter a problem, we know that we are able to use it.
It can be the art of flight, of the chase, of helping someone with a problem, something ordinary. It happened to me that I’ve had to climb up to the second floor because some guy forgot his keys. It’s stupid, because he’s right there. He knows that his window is open. He doesn’t have his keys.
He says to me, “Can you… uh…”
And I’m like, “Of course,” and I climb into his place just to open his door. And if he was able to do it… Well, it wouldn’t have been a problem for him.
I believe that the end result of Parkour is to become entirely autonomous in life. And to be able to say all by yourself, “Well this here… I don’t have the distance, but I’ll train for 15 days, drilling 50 jumps in the morning and at night. In a month, I’ll have it.”
That’s knowing yourself. Setting goals and attaining them. Because if we don’t have goals, we’re just floating in the wind and we don’t know why we’re moving. And when we have found a reason for what we’re doing, even if we move into other areas that are not Parkour – artistic areas or in life – well, we will already be in the habit of finding meaning.
All the questions that they ask me about Parkour… They ask, “Why are you doing this? What is the…” As though it’s hidden in the philosophy, or in the movements that you are working on.
But if you look at a monkey… If you were to stop him at the moment he ‘s in the middle of doing a jump, you press pause and then you ask him, “Why are you doing this? Why are you moving?” I think the monkey would answer, “And you? Why are you NOT moving?”
The thing that is really amusing, in the idea of urban Parkour, is when you realize that humans are moving on things that are not made initially for this purpose. Which is to say that the guy who built the little barriers on the sides of staircases to go this way or put this wall here, he didn’t say to himself, “Oh yeah, so he’s going to jump here, so this is at the right distance. Or maybe…” They build it and we came and found… the way…
Like a game… a game of society… A little… a little… You will look and see what’s possible, what’s not possible. And the more you look at it correctly, the less risk you take.
When you live an art – it doesn’t matter which – completely, inevitably it opens up on other things. And it makes you understand things about life. The right middle ground…
Because excess kills. Therefore… It stays with me…
My grandfather used to say that to me: “You need to use it and not abuse it.”
These are phrases that come back to me all the time. In those moments when I ask myself questions, I tell myself, “But this settles it. I’ve was told.”
You can’t be a jackass all the time. You can’t … You can’t play with your body like that. There’s a moment when you need to follow rules. There are laws of physics. It’s fine to say say, “Yeah, I’m not scared” but you won’t jump 10 metres (33 feet). You can’t jump 10 metres.
So you’re obliged to follow a kind of training… And it’s in training that you can say, “I feel good. I can progress past myself.” And know just how far you are willing to go.
I realize that everything that my father gave to me, and everything that I learned on the ground… I realize now that he didn’t lie to me. That he didn’t say to me, “Here, go on, David. You jump from there. Don’t be afraid. You won’t do anything to yourself. You won’t get hurt. And…”
He would tell me to be careful with what I was doing. He would tell me to not do just anything. And… Look… I owe him everything in the end.
It’s not easy when you have a child, to see him jumping from a height, and to stay stoic like this and say, “Yeah that’s good, but use your legs a bit more, because right now that’s not going to…” and give him advice. But now all that I see is, “Be careful!” or “You’re going to hurt yourself,” or whatever.
I’m under the impression that fear is passed on. We can teach courage, but we also teach a lot of fear. And we’re in a society… today, where everyone is afraid. Everyone double locks their doors. Everyone is stressed. Everyone is… How are we going to trust people like this?
And if today, the new generation learns things where they learn a little to have courage and to have confidence in themselves… These are the future fathers of tomorrow. So these people, when they are 30 or 40 years old, they’ll be 40 years old, but people who will have done Parkour and who will have learned these values. So they will pass on other things to their sons. Other than “But not that! Be careful! Put on your jacket, you’re going to catch a cold. No! Not there you’re going to fall.” Because by doing that, we might as well just lock ourselves in our homes. And then nothing will happen to us. But life happens outside anyways.
So if we have two arms and two legs, it’s for… It’s for… for it’s for climbing to go see what’s going on. It’s not for staying locked up, otherwise we’d just be like trees.
There is no stronger or weaker. What is actually important… You’re strong in the moment when you go right to the end for the cause you are defending. Tomorrow, you get into a fight or there’s a confusion, if your cause is good, you will always win.
Even if physically you lost. The guy physically beats you down and broke your legs, you say “Yeah, you physically beat me down, but I will always have what’s in my head. You can’t get into my head and change what’s in my head.”
If I tell you it’s like this and I’m sure of it, you’ll never move that. And that’s what’s important.
So, now, with Parkour, you can hurt yourself, you can do whatever… but it’s not because… Even me, personally, tomorrow, I could hurt myself doing Parkour… it could always happen… but I will always believe in the same values. Because even animals fall down. They take a spill. They… Except when they fall, it’s not concrete.
It’s really similar to martial arts. In the method of training. In the willingness to drill a movement or a technique. Yeah, you could say it’s tied closely to martial arts. I think it’s really the same philosophy, the same way of… of learning things…
To look at an opponent and to say, “Okay this guy, he’s much bigger, so I need to hit him much lower because this or that,” or “this guy looks pretty fast, so I’m going to try to…”
So by following the opponent, we modify our technique, we know where we need to be careful, whatever, if we going to engage in close combat or fight on the ground.
So when you find yourself in front of an obstacle, it’s the same: “So what’s here? I’m going to grab there. But if I slip, where I can catch myself? Okay there’s this.” Boom boom boom. It teaches you to look.
It’s… It’s really the same… well for me… the same mechanism.
I think the fear will always be there. But there will be a moment when you will have the confidence, that right when you are about to do a jump, you say, “I’ve practiced this 500 times right beside, and in that 500 times I never bailed. Why am I now I worried that I’m going to fall?”
Because fear makes us lose our memory sometimes.
Like someone – I keep coming back to combat – the guy is there in his club. He’s done his drills all year. Hop. He made his display. One day he gets into trouble. There’s a lot of pressure. The other guy isn’t talking to him like his teacher because it doesn’t matter that he does martial arts, and he only wants him to know that if he doesn’t give him his wallet right now, he’s going to get messed up. And the guy, he panics.
You want to say, “Hey! Wake up! What have you been all year? Didn’t you train for this moment?”
“Yeah, but now I don’t know, because I’m paralyzed by…”
“Well you didn’t learn anything then. It’s useless.”
So I see it like that. So the training must be such that when you are in a real situation, you react right away. And the more you’ve trained in a situation that approaches reality, then the day you are confronted by reality, then there is no change. Because reality is when you’re confronted by reality.
It’s when you learn on something soft or whatever, that when all of a sudden… or you take hits in boxing gloves, and you think oh that’s a punch.
No! A punch with bones that go into your skull has nothing to do with that. When your head takes a shock and you no longer know where you are… Well if you’ve never taken a punch in your life, then you’ll never know what it is.
And I believe, there it is, it’s a little like that.
When you engage in something, you know the risks, and you aren’t surprised, because… “Oh yeah, it’s true. I tried Parkour and I twisted my ankle. I’m quitting this sport. It’s really dangerous…” You already knew. You already knew.
A hunter or a whatever, a guy from a tribe, he climbs in the trees. Of course, it’s happened that he’s fallen and torn himself up. But it’s like, “Yeah, but we have to go through there. If not, then we don’t eat. We have to climb in the trees.”
From the moment you leave your house it’s dangerous. When you go into the subway, it’s dangerous. You could be at the edge of your tracks with your briefcase. You think you’re safe. And here comes this guy who is running because his buddy is trying to catch him. He bumps into you and you fall on the tracks. You didn’t want to end up there, but there, it happened… At any point in the day…
So when you understand that… On the day that you’re supposed to go, you go. So right now do your thing, live your life and so stop living in fear: “Oh no! You shouldn’t do that because…” Or this guy, “No, I don’t have a car. I don’t drive because it’s dangerous. There are lots of accidents.” But then one day you’re crossing the street and you get run over. The guy who double locks his door so no one gets in, and there’s a gas leak and the building explodes.
There isn’t really anything you can do to protect yourself from danger or to avoid risk. Life is already a risk. Life is a permanent risk. We take risks all the time when we speak to people. When we engage with someone and trust them, we are taking a risk.
So the trick is to be aware of it and live with it.
People who are like: “Did you see? He’s on the wall of the school?” and everyone goes, “He’s not supposed to be there. Oh la la!” It’s people who are giving the impression thatyou’re doing something wrong.
But you’re like, “What’s the matter?”
If a cat comes along, or a bird sits up there, you’re not going to throw rocks at it. It’s a living thing. It has a heart beating inside it. Why then just because I am person and I can speak, well now you’ll say, “Oh you know you’re not supposed to be there, you know. What are you doing on that wall?”
Well, I don’t know. And you, what are you doing there looking at me? If you turn your head, in fact, and walk straight ahead, you don’t see me. I’m not inconveniencing you. So go on your way… If you were going to get bread, go buy your bread and go home. And… Why are you concerning yourself with my stuff? And when you talk to me and disturb me right when I’m about to jump, I’m at risk of falling because of you. Because you disturbed me to enter into this discussion. I’m concentrating on my thing. I look at you. I jump. Bam! I hurt myself. And then what do you do? Are you going to come and take me to the emergency room? So if it’s not… if what you have to say is not presently relevant to what I’m doing, keep moving.